The 2020 NHL Draft is scheduled for October 6 and 7, conducted remotely. The Calgary Flames have a first round selection and will pick 19th overall. In advance of the draft, we’ll be looking at some contenders to be selected at 19th.
Next up on our waltz through the potential first round contenders: an absolute goal-scoring machine from the OHL’s Barrie Colts, Tyson Foerster.
A fairly big (6’1″, 195) right shot center from Ontario, Foerster broke into the Colts roster last season as a 16-year-old and had a respectable OHL debut, posting 23 points in 64 games. He moved up the rotation in 2019-20 and took advantage, posting way more goals in 2019-20 than he had points as a rookie.
Here’s Tony Ferrari’s rundown of Foerster’s game for Dobber Prospects:
One of the best powerplay threats in the draft, Foerster has a shot that would make him one of the high-end shooters in the NHL already. His shot is dangerous from anywhere in the offensive zone but he is particularly deadly when he is able to set up in the faceoff circle and fire away. He changes the angle of his shot with subtle stick work prior to the shot and he takes shots from unorthodox positions. He has no issue firing a bomb from his off-foot on the rush or slapping a backhand one-timer. That diverse shot selection is part of what makes him dangerous at all times on the ice. His play away from the puck is a work in progress and his playmaking, while decent, doesn’t really move the needle in any major way. He will be a capable facilitator, specifically on the powerplay. Foerster will be able to thrive if put in the right position and given the ample powerplay time that his shot deserves.
Over at Defending Big D, Derek Neumeier characterized Foerster’s goal-scoring ability as elite and expanded on the parts of his game that are less than elite: he’s still a bit raw, and his skating and conditioning could use some fine-tuning:
The point I’m trying to make here is that Foerster doesn’t look or seem like he is as close to being a finished product physically as others in the draft — such as Alexis Lafrenière, as one obvious example — do. Similar to how Dallas Stars 2017 2nd-rounder Jason Robertson was able to improve his mobility after a few years of dedicated, NHL-assisted training and development, you can see the realistic room for growth with Foerster.
And even if his skating never becomes a strength of his game (which it won’t), his stocky 6-foot-1 frame will help him out a lot. It’s a lot easier to have skating issues at that size than 5-foot-10 because of the natural advantages in battles along the boards and in front of the net. When he goes hard to the net on the rush he’s able to out-muscle defenders and gain that crucial inside position, which should be a perk that follows him along in his career.
Foerster made big strides in 2019-20 and really took advantage of the trust that he gained on the power play. He was one of the OHL’s most potent weapons and if he can round himself out a bit, he could become quite a formidable option for an NHL club.
For someone that wasn’t all that well-known heading into the season, Foerster stacked up really well compared to the established high-end draft prospects in 2019-20. He was 16th in the entire OHL with 36 goals and 80 points in 62 games. He ranked behind only Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti, Jack Quinn and Quinton Byfield in overall points among first-time draft eligible players. At even strength, he had 16 goals and 44 points.
A good player to compare Foerster with is Jacob Perreault. Perreault had 39 goals and 70 points in 59 games, three fewer than Foerster. At even strength, Perreault had fewer points (41) but more goals (24). Foerster’s more reliant than Perreault on PP time for his production, and you could argue based on the numbers and the scouting reports that Perreault is a more well-rounded player at this point.
Availability and fit
Foerster is a right shot center with size, smarts, and the ability to score oodles of goals. His offensive prowess would slot him in nicely with other offensive-minded Flames forward prospects such as Jakob Pelletier, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Emilio Pettersen and Matthew Phillips.
It seems like he’d be available at 19th overall, too. Foerster is ranked 24th by FC Hockey, 15th by Craig Button, 46th by McKeen’s, and 29th by Bob McKenzie. The big question is if he would be he best player available at 19th; the aforementioned Perreault would arguably be a better selection, and it’s likely that there may be other less one-dimensional players available than Foerster. (“One-dimensional” isn’t meant as a knock, Foerster is great at the toughest thing to do in hockey: scoring goals.)
2020 First Round Targets
Braden Schneider | Kaiden Guhle | Seth Jarvis | Connor Zary | Jacob Perreault | Noel Gunler | Lukas Reichel | Dylan Holloway | Hendrix Lapierre | Jan Myšák | Jake Neighbours | Mavrik Bourque | Ozzy Wiesblatt | John-Jason Peterka | Yaroslav Askarov